Animation 101: Learning The Basics in Toonboom Harmony | Diane Shaher | Skillshare

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Animation 101: Learning The Basics in Toonboom Harmony

teacher avatar Diane Shaher, 2D Animator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro!

    • 2. Timing and Spacing

    • 3. Setting up: The Bouncing Ball

    • 4. Bouncing Ball: Part 1 of 3

    • 5. Bouncing Ball: Part 2 of 3

    • 6. Bouncing Ball: Part 3 of 3

    • 7. How To Export Your Animation

    • 8. Conclusion!

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About This Class

In this Skillshare class, students will learn the fundamentals of animation, what goes into the process of animating and how to make things come to life! With the 12 basic animation principles, including squash and stretch, timing and spacing, which will aid you in the class project “The Bouncing Ball” and few other simple yet crucial exercises. In addition you will get a simple run down on the animation program Toonboom Harmony. We will be focusing on 2D traditional animation, so it is advised that you have a pen and tablet for this class. This class is solely geared towards beginners, and no prior knowledge is required.

Meet Your Teacher

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Diane Shaher

2D Animator


Diane is an freelance animator based out of Vancouver B.C, she was always inspired by cartoons growing up and decided to pursue animation as a career, so she went to Sheridan College for their Bachelor of Animation program. During the program she interned at a studio named Titmouse Inc. located in Los Angeles, California  and after graduating she got hired by Titmouse's Vancouver studio in 2017. Since then she has worked on shows for FOX, Amazon, Netflix and Disney Channel and is now freelancing for commercial studios such as Linetest and BUCK. 

Besides being an animator, Diane has a huge passion for skateboarding which has been a huge influence on her since she was a 9 years old! She also recently started a new venture called PHRSH threads... See full profile

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1. Intro!: Hey there, I'm Diane Chair. I am an animator working in the animation industry. I am from Toronto, Canada. I'm currently based in Kelowna, BC. I was fortunate enough to go to Sheridan College, which is a school known for its animation program. It's a four year bachelor animation program. I went there, did the four years, got hired right out of school, started working in Vancouver, and now I'm here in Kelowna. I'm here to teach you the bouncing ball, which is one of the most important exercises that animators first learn when they first start out. It's important because it teaches you timing and spacing, squash and stretch, and especially arcs. These are crucial because these principles are in basically everything that's animated. It brings animational life, so it will definitely help your bouncing ball come to life. Let's get started. 2. Timing and Spacing: Hey guys. I've created a little lesson here for you on timing and spacing. Timing and spacing is the two most important principles of animation. People always think they're fairly similar or the same, but they're really not. They're totally different. Timing is how fast something goes from point A to point B, whereas spacing is the distance between each drawing. That I feel gives character to whatever you're animating. I'll show you this circle here on the left. This one, it's going 12 frames down 12 frames up, so it's 24 frames. It's going pretty slow, the spacing on it is very even as you can see here. Pretty even, pretty mechanical, pretty boring. The second one here, that one is also going at the same speed but its spacing is much different. This one resembles a yo-yo. It's going fast to slow and then slow fast. This one has much more character than the one on the left, which is a little more exciting to look at. I'll show you what the space looks like on it. That's what it looks like. Very different. As for the third one, this one resembles a bouncing ball. Its spacing is much different than the other two, and it's got character as well. The middle one and the one on the right, these ones have much more character than the one on the very left and they are a lot more appealing to look at. That's what timing and spacing is. 3. Setting up: The Bouncing Ball: Hey, guys. Diane here. I'm here to teach you how to animate the bouncing ball into new harmony. Once you open it up, you're going to get this window here and we're going to want to label it as bouncing ball. Then for the location, you can save it wherever you want and then hit "Create Scene". When you first open up a property, you're going to want to do a couple of things before you get started. You're going to want to head over to Edit, to Preferences. Typically when you first open up harmony, these two are usually uncheck; focus on both mouse enter and shortcut zooms on mouse. You're going to want to check them off, just make your life easier. There we go. A couple of basics for when it comes to animating in harmony, you're going to want to know a couple of the hotkeys to zoom in if you hit "Two" you'll zoom in and hit "One" you're going to zoom out. That will be fairly handy for when you get animating. In order to get this bouncing ball going, we're going to need them ground plane first, just to ground the ball. You can use the pencil tool or you can use the line tool hidden inside this little rectangle here. You hold down, look at the line tool. We'll make a horizon line. That looks all right. That's that. You will go down to the timeline just at the bottom of your window and we will extend it, send exposure to frame, maybe 50. That should be good. Otherwise, there would just be left on one frame. Now I've got the ground plane. We're going to lock that, so it doesn't move when we're animating. Also, we're going to actually label it as ground plane. We're going to create another drawing layer which will hover animation on. If you go down to this little plus sign and then in your timeline, hold it down and then hit "Drawing" and label it as path of action. Add on Close. You're going to do a path of action, which exactly what it sounds like. It's going to be the path or where the animation is going to be going. It helps keep your animation lined up and looking clean. This is what it's going to look like for the bouncing ball, will be fairly simple. This is what the path of actions going to look like. The ball is going to go along each line here and that's its path of action. We're going to extend it to the end of the timeline. There we have it with us throughout the animation and we're going to lock it as well. If you go down to the timeline with it will lock, is there, just click it. It'll be locked. Now we're going to add another layer, which will be our animation layer. Go to the plus sign and then hold down and go to drying. We're going to label it as animation. 4. Bouncing Ball: Part 1 of 3: All right. we're going to start with our first frame of animation. For this exercise, I'm going to use the Ellipse tool just to save time. If you have a tablet or a CT like what I'm using, you can use the pencil tool to draw on the circles. But for this exercise, I'm going to be using the Ellipse tool. The first drawing will go right about there. We've got our first drawing here. We're going to create the next drawing. All right, so the next drawing, I'm going to copy and paste the circle from the last frame. Then I'm going to paste it. When it comes in animating, say a ball at the top of each arc, call it hang time. That's when all the drawings are closest together and it appears they'll go slower because the more drawings equals the slower the animation, whereas the less drawings equals the faster the animation. That's the second frame. I'm going to copy that. Paste it and Control V. Great, so right now it's in the exact same spot as it was before. For this one, I'm going to move it just a little bit over. It's coming out of hang time so what that means is that the drawings will be slightly spaced further apart. It'll look like it's speeding up. I'll do the same thing, copy it and paste it. We will extend the exposure of this drawing one frame over so it's on two frames. To extend the exposure on the timeline, if you go to the space in front of the frame and hit F5, it'll extend it. Oops. There we go. But we don't need it on threes. We're going to delete that. All right, so there's our ball. I'm going to move it over because in the exact same spot is the last drawing. What I like to do when I'm animating, I like to scrub on the timeline to see how things are moving. It's good to do that. You can see whether something is moving, how you would like it to. Set the first arc. It's going to be moving fairly quickly. Now it's going to start speeding up and once it speeds up, it's going to start changing in shape. It's going to start stretching. We'll Copy this, Paste it, and move it down a little over. Like I said, it's going to start changing shape. What I'm doing right now, I'm holding down Control and ALT and that allows me to rotate the screen a little. I'm going to rotate it so I can get a good stretch on this ball. If I wanted to say, go back to what the screen was like before, if I hit this little cross hair here with the arrow going counterclockwise. It'll revert the screen back to what it normally is. Here's this feature called onion skin in harmony and it's located right here. There we go. On the timeline you can extend how much you want to see. That's what that looks like right now. It looks all right. We're going to copy this one and paste it onto the next frame and extend it. There we go. Now we're going to move it down a little farther since it's speeding up, F8. Send the exposure and we're going to copy over again. I like doing the whole copy and pasting the last line because it helps me see where the last drawing was. Because when you paste it, it'll paste on the exact same spot as it was in the last frame. That's what I like doing. Some people would do it differently but this is how I like to do it. All right, so since it's going faster, you're going to stretch it some more. Now this little circle that's in the middle here, if you move it to a certain part of where the drawing is that weren't selected, it's basically like an anchor. I'm going to anchor it right there and then pull down. Then you can get a nice specific stretch on it. Also you can skew it too if you just go from the lines of the square. Everything in animation moves in arcs for the most part. Bouncing ball obviously is going into an arc, which is our path of action. There's three arcs here and there are a few exceptions to the arcs but for right now, everything moves in arcs. Great. That's where the last drawing was. We're going to move it down to right about there and we're going to rotate it. It's going to be just touching where it's going to squash and where extended out. We are going to create the squash drawing. Squash drawing is the drawing that shows where it has impacted with the ground. In the last drawing, it didn't impact it. It's right before it happens. This drawing is going to show what it looks like when it impacts the ground and you got to squash it. The 12 principles of animation are squash and stretch. This is basically what, this lesson is about. Squash and stretch are both very important because it's what gives animation its fun and it's what makes animation more appealing and fun looking because what that looks like right now. I like to scrub the timeline to make sure all the volumes are looking about the same because you don't want it to grow or shrink in size, especially after you've stretched it or squashed it. It's really easy to lose its volume. It's good to make sure everything's looking to scale. 5. Bouncing Ball: Part 2 of 3: We're going to go on to the next drawing. This drawing is very crucial because after it's impacted the ground, it's going to stretch, but it's also going to give it some more life. This drawing, it's always good to place the bouncing ball after impact just a little off the ground because it was right off the ground, it would make the animation static, whereas if it's right there, it gives it some more life. It's looking good. Since it's coming out of the bounce, it's going to soon be approaching it's hanging time since after the first bounce, it's going to lose some speed. So on this arc, it's going to be going slightly slower than the first arc here. What that means is that the drawings are to be placed close, closer than they were in say the arc around here. Once the ball reaches its hang time, which is the peak of its arc, it's going to recoil back to its original state. Right now this drawing is transitioning to what it would be like if it were up here. It's going to look like that. That's what it should look like. It's not quite a full perfect circle, but it's getting there. We're going to move it over, but not too far, and not too close. That looks great now and as you can see, it's all following the path of action. The next drawing will be placed probably right around here. Another way of scrubbing through the timeline instead of using your mouse and dragging it along the timeline, you can use the, not arrow keys, but the greater and less than keys on the keyboard next to the question mark and the M. That way if you're trying to watch a moving between two frames, it's easier to just flip between them to make sure everything's looking good. It's almost like the modern-day version of flipping papers. When animation was still on paper, they would have to flip between different papers, which were basically just frames. You get into a habit of flipping which is a good thing. It helps train your eye to track the motion opposed to just relying on the Onionskin. I mean, both are great, but sometimes it's nice to see things without the previous drawings and the next drawings. Anyways, onto the next drawing. We'll copy that and paste it and put it over, there should be good. It's going a consistent speed at the top of the arc, which is what you want. That's looking very right. Since it's coming out of hang time, it's going to start going a little faster and we will copy it, and since it's coming out of hang time and going faster, we've got to stretch it a little and it's going to be spaced a little further away than the last few drawings were just to show that it's going faster. Since it's not going as fast as it was on the first arc, it's not going to be stretched as much as it was coming out of the first arc. As you can see, it's pretty stretched and squashed there, but for here, it doesn't need to be as much because it's not going as fast. We're going copy that and paste it. For this drawing, it's going to be obviously spaced a little farther than the last and it's going to be stretched to a little, and when you're stretching it and make sure it's following the drawing from before, the same direction. It's good to skew it a little, you don't want to have it skewed like that because it'll be going out of the arc. It's good to line it up. See the path of action, have a going straight down the middle, and that's a good way to track it and making sure that everything is moving in nice arcs. This will be just like the last squash drawing, but it won't be as squashed. Now let's play it and see how that looks. That's actually looking pretty good. Now, let's move on to the next. Let's move that right there. That's the end of the timeline at frame 50. The next one, it will be coming out of the squash drawing. 6. Bouncing Ball: Part 3 of 3: So we're going to skew it in the direction that it's going to be going in and then lift it above the ground a little. There we go. All right. Actually it's looking a little small coming out. So we're going to increase the size. So we hold down Shift and go to the corner of the bounding box here and just make it a little bigger. Yeah, there we go. That's more like it. All right. So almost done. Now we got to do the next drawing. So we're going to be going to hang time. For this drawing, since it just bounced off the ground, it's going to be going fastish. It's like trial and error. You've got to scrub through it a few times to make sure it's looking right in terms of spacing, and this. Actually, I'm going to rotate it a little. Also I'm going to change the shape of it because it's exactly the same as the last drawing and it needs to change shapes. Every drawing is got to be slightly different. Unless you're in the hang time, then it's going to be basically the same, but going into it, there's a lot of change. So yeah, if it looks exactly the same, it's going to look off. It's going to look static. Even if it's moving, it's going to look strange. All right. That looks pretty good. All right. We're actually almost done. We need about three more drawings, and then we're done. So since it's basically almost top of its arc, it's going to be back to its normal size and shape. All right. So that should be it. Actually I'm going to extend the timeline by a couple of frames since the last drawing is going halfway through the frame. So you can see it's good to have a bit of space. Not space, but it's good to have a break and it resolves the drawing of the animation showing that it didn't leave the screen. So we'll give that a play and see. Even if you extend it another two frames, so it's at four frames, and we actually extend the ground plane because you need it like that. So that's the bouncing ball. 7. How To Export Your Animation: Hey. I've got one last video for you guys. In order to export your animation, you're going to need a background. Currently, it doesn't have a background. If you were to export this animation, it would just be all black. You're going to want to go over to the little plus sign over here and hold it down and hit "Color Card". Now you've got a white background. But if you want to change the color, you're going to want to go into your node view. If it's not open, if it looks like that, just hit the little arrow on the right side of the screen. You're going to want to hit that little yellow square where it says color current on the color card node. To change the color, double-tap the long white rectangle. You've got all the colors you can choose from. If it doesn't look like that, it will look like this when you first open it. To get the other colors, hit "Multiple Wheel Mode," there you go. Now we're going to go to File, to Export to Movie, then, in the top drop-down menu where it says QuickTime movie, you're going to want to hit "H.264", then for the "Output File", save it where you need to. We are going to hit "Okay". 8. Conclusion!: So, thanks for watching, and be sure to upload your bouncing ball animation to the student gallery and I hope you enjoyed this class. Stay tuned for the next lesson.